Known As: Tatyana Ali
Sometimes Credited As: Tatyana M Ali
Birth Name: Tatyana Marisol Ali
Date: January 24, 1979
Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA
Height: 5' 4''
Education: Harvard University (majored in Anthropology)
Claim to fame: as Ashley Banks in The Fresh Prince of
Bel Air with Will Smith
Occupation: Actress, Musician
Tatyana Marisol Ali was born on January 24, 1979, in
Brooklyn, New York. Her mother Sonia was a nurse from
Panama, while her father Sheriff Ali is a retired New
York police detective of Trinidad East Indian descent.
Tatyana grew up in Long Island and started singing when
she was only four years old. The bright star appeared
on Star Search twice at age seven. She won both times
and even received a full four-star rating on her second
Tatyana's breakthrough role came on The Fresh Prince
of Bel-Air, as Ashley Banks. At the age of eleven, Tatyana
and her family moved to Hollywood to be closer to the
recording studios and to facilitate her career. The
young actress soon demonstrated her vocal talents on
the popular show.
She sang in several episodes; the most important ones
being her rendition of Aretha Franklin's "Respect"
and her performance of the original song "Make
up Your Mind". She was so remarkable that co-star
Will Smith actually approached her and asked if she
has ever thought of moving her singing hobby to a more
Tatyana began preparing for her singing career during
the last year of the show as she began training her
vocal chords, recording demos, and publicly performing
on television and in various informal live concerts.
Her performances in The Fresh Prince actually helped
her build a fan base that anxiously waited for her first
Tatyana's debut single, "Daydreamin" was
a surprising success as it set the tone for a promising
career both on television and on the music scene. Her
single was certified Gold within weeks of its release
and it quickly rose into the Billboard 100 Hot Singles,
where it peaked at number six for two weeks. Her die-hard
fans believe that "Daydreamin" was the weakest
song of her album and think her popularity will skyrocket
once other songs of her album would be released.
Tatyana's career was impressively smooth, as it would
be if she were to become a star. At the age of four,
she started acting on Sesame Street just weeks after
she begged her mom to audition for it. She went on to
perform in many productions in her native New York,
including the Broadway show Fences with James Earl Jones
and later Billy Dee Williams, and the off-Broadway show
Orfeo del Campo.
Tatyana also contributed in major movies such as Crocodile
Dundee II and Eddy Murphy's Raw. While filming The Fresh
Prince of Bel-Air, she also had interesting side projects,
including guest roles in television shows such as the
Cosby Show, The Mickey Mouse Club, Kyno's Storytime,
Are you Afraid of the Dark?, and the television movie
Mr. Foster's Field Trip.
Since then, she has had large roles in two movies:
Fall into Darkness and Fakin da Funk, a feature film
from 1997. She has also guest starred in several sitcoms,
including In the House, and had a cameo role in the
film Kiss the Girls.
As for her private life, she had a much-publicized
relationship with Jonathon Brandis, known for his role
in Seaquest. She is now single, since most of her time
is committed to her music career, as she explains, "Probably
now I would make a horrible girlfriend because I'm always
traveling, so I'd never do that to anyone."
In September 1998, Tatyana began her life as a Harvard
University freshman with an anthropology major. She
wants to expand her knowledge and says that going to
school is the only way she won't remain mentally the
same five years from now. She is ambitious, hard working
and there is no doubt that a long career is in her cards.
Let's keep our eyes open to see where she takes her
music, and in what other fields she decides to expand